Weekend Predictions: Arsenal – Liverpool – Tottenham – Manchester United – Newcastle United – Chelsea – Manchester City – Fulham – Aston Villa – Bolton Wanderers – Portsmouth – West Ham – Wigan – Middlesbrough – Sunderland – Everton – Reading – Blackburn Rovers – Birmingham City – Derby County

Back from international week and the Premier League is raring to go with Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal all on 10 points and all teams looking to increase their lead at the top of the table.

As usual, we’ve got the weekend predictions and previews – you can also make your own predictions by copying the list of matches at the end of this article and having your say in the comments.

Saturday 15 September 2007

Everton vs Manchester United

Read the full preview here.

Everton have the home advantage and have made a good start to the season, but this is Manchester United we’re talking about and you wouldn’t bet against the champions to blow this chance to get back into the top four of the league. Still early stages but if United have Saha and Hargreaves playing along with Ronaldo they will be very hard to stop from winning this match.

Soccerlens Prediction: Manchester United to win.

Portsmouth vs Liverpool

Considering that Portsmouth have already played Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea (and taken 1 point out of those 3 games), you could forgive them for languishing in 13th place with a paltry 5 points from 5 games. To be fair, Pompey have had a good season so far – they’ve fought hard against the top four teams and when it came to beating direct rivals they turned out a match of class to dispose of Bolton.

Portsmouth know that Liverpool won’t play as easy as Manchester United did when they came over and as a result you could see a more defensive approach from Harry’s men.

Liverpool won’t mind though – they’ve got confidence, goal difference and 1st place on their side and it’s hard to argue against the reformation this Liverpool side has seen over the summer. Portsmouth could still spring a surprise but Liverpool have goals to spare in their locker and even if Torres and Kuyt can’t score they always have Stevie G and Crouch to call upon.

Soccerlens Prediction: Liverpool to win.

Tottenham vs Arsenal

Pundits are predicting a draw for this game – something to do with Tottenham’s precarious position and the corresponding ‘fighting spirit’, as well as Arsenal’s tendency to leak a goal which could be enough for Tottenham to take a point from this game.

I smell bollocks – here’s a time struggling for confidence against a team thriving on it. Arsenal have a good chance to win the game – the only problem being their lack of defensive cover. This could be a high-scoring and entertaining game, and with Martin Jol at the end of his wits (and tenure, if the press is to be believed), would you bet against a touchline brawl?

Soccerlens Prediction: Arsenal to win.

Birmingham City vs Bolton Wanderers

Birmingham and Bolton both have shaky defences, and both teams are shot of confidence. In such games all bets are off – either team could pull a blinder out of their collective arses and come up all aces. More likely though is the possibility of a scrappy draw, although it has to be said that both Birmingham and Bolton have little time to turn their season around and avoid getting sucked in deeper in the relegation zone.

Birmingham have yet to win at home, while Bolton (predictably) haven’t won away yet.

Soccerlens Prediction: Draw.

Sunderland vs Reading

This should be an entertaining match to watch – both managers have a point to prove after their less-than-satisfactory start to the season and especially Reading will be looking to win this game and move away from the relegation zone.

Sunderland’s recent injury problems mean that they’re not going to have the creative talents of Edwards and Richardson at their disposal – it makes their job much harder but not impossible. We’ll have to see whether manager Roy Keane can motivate his players to step up and produce the goods because if they don’t Reading will sweep Sunderland away with their disciplined, aggressive approach.

Sunderland haven’t scored in the last 4 games, and Reading’s goalscoring record this season isn’t something to write home about either.

Soccerlens Prediction: Draw.

West Ham United vs Middlesbrough

It’s the same question for West Ham again this season – which version will turn up? At home, against a team that is fighting for every single point and against a striker who’s out to prove a point. West Ham of old is most likely to turn up, in which case it will all come down to how Middlesbrough defend.

Usually Middlesbrough’s defense is solid enough to allow them to go forward and score against teams like West Ham but an away game can change everything. Add to this West Ham’s home record against Boro and things look firmly in West Ham’s favor.

Both teams are on something of a good run, securing 7 points from their last 3 games (with West Ham having a game in hand to Middlesbrough).

Should be a good game and if West Ham win it will go a long way towards restoring their confidence and help them in their aim to be a top-10 regular.

Soccerlens Prediction: West Ham to win.

Wigan Athletic vs Fulham

Wigan have made a solid start to the season (apart from that home loss to Hull in the Carling Cup) and have shrugged off the relegation contenders tag given to them at the start of August with a fighting spirit reminiscent of two seasons ago. They still have flaws as a team (mostly their inability to switch gears against tough opposition) but Wigan have the players to beat Fulham and at the end of the day that’s all they’ll care about.

Fulham have an abysmal away record (as always) and have already conceded 10 goals this season. They fought hard in the games they’ve played and been unlucky once or twice, but overall Fulham have done better than expected (apart from the away games, that is). Can Lawrie Sanchez undo the jinx? Somehow I doubt it, with Wigan more likely to score than Fulham and this being an away game.

Soccerlens Prediction: Wigan to win.

Chelsea vs Blackburn Rovers

Everyone’s expecting Chelsea to come back roaring in this game after their defeat to Aston Villa and that will suit Blackburn just fine. Mark Hughes’ side are better than most other sides at having a real go at a game and any deficiencies in quality are more than made up for by their 110% efforts on the pitch.

However, Chelsea are similar in terms of attitude and desire to Blackburn and heads and shoulders above in ability. Assuming that the referee doesn’t invoke karma and the old Mark Hughes doesn’t drop in from nowhere to win the game for Blackburn, this one is in the bag for Chelsea.

Soccerlens Prediction: Chelsea to win.

Sunday 16 September 2007

Manchester City vs Aston Villa

Two cagey teams and two European managers (O’Neill is more European than British) – it should be an interesting game but I doubt that this will come to any result. Villa are likely to be content with a draw, while Manchester City will push hard but have had their confidence dented after successive defeats.

Soccerlens Prediction: Draw.

Monday 17 September 2007

Derby County vs Newcastle United

Derby County have conceded 15 goals so far, and with Michael Owen in such good form for England over the international break there is a good chance for Derby hitting 20 goals before Monday night is over.

Newcastle start to the season hasn’t been ‘better’ than the past two seasons (although it seems like it), but with the leaders also dropping points and with squad in much better shape than last year, there’s a good chance Newcastle will be in the top 10 come May 2008.

Derby? It’s damage control as far as they are concerned.

Soccerlens Prediction: Newcastle United to win.

Your Predictions

It’s time for you to make your predictions – who do you think will win this weekend’s matches? Copy-paste the list below and get going.

Everton vs Manchester United
Portsmouth vs Liverpool
Tottenham vs Arsenal
Birmingham City vs Bolton Wanderers
Sunderland vs Reading
West Ham United vs Middlesbrough
Wigan Athletic vs Fulham
Chelsea vs Blackburn Rovers
Manchester City vs Aston Villa
Derby County vs Newcastle United

Ed’s Note: Soccerlens has been nominated for the ‘Best Sports Blog’ award (I know, I know, it wasn’t me, honest!), so take out 2 minutes to sign up here and vote for us. The more votes you can hustle, the better ๐Ÿ™‚

Everton vs Manchester United Preview (15-09-07)
Should Rio Ferdinand be Manchester United captain?


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